Vermentino B

Giorgio Gallesio

Vermentino (or Rolle) is a light-skinned wine grape variety, primarily found in Italian wine. It is widely planted in both Sardinia and Liguria, to some extent in Corsica, in Piedmont under the name Favorita, and in increasing amounts in Languedoc-Roussillon. 

The most famous wine made from Vermentino is probably the DOCG Vermentino di Gallura (and Vermentino di Gallura Superiore) which is produced in the province of Olbia-Tempio, in the north of Sardinia.

The grape is said to have been cultivated in this part of Gallura, often under the name Arratelau, since the fourteenth century. Elsewhere on the island the grape is used for a variety of white wines, including sweet and sparkling variants.

Different hypotheses about the origin of Vermentino have been forwarded, and only recently has DNA typing confirmed Vermentino to be identical to the Pigato of Liguria and Favorita of Piedmont, superseding some earlier hypotheses. It is unclear if Vermentino is also identical to the variety Rollo found in eastern Provence, around Nice. Both that variety and Vermentino go under the synonym Rolle.

Italian DOC wines include: Vermentino Di Sardegna (province of Sardinia), Riviera Ligure di Ponente Vermentino (provinces of Imperia and Savona, Liguria), Colli di Luni Vermentino (province of La Spezia in Liguria and the adjacent Tuscan province of Massa-Carrara), Candia dei Colli Apuani (province of Massa-Carrara, Tuscany), Bolgheri Vermentino (province of Livorno, Tuscany), Colli del Limbara IGT (Sardinia), blended with Retagliado bianco.

French wine AOC wines include: Patrimonio, located in the north of Corsica, on the Gulf of Saint Florent, was the first region of the island to attain AOC status (in 1968). Its white wine is 100% Vermentino. In Languedoc-Roussillon, it has recently been allowed into many AOC wines, including Côtes du Roussillon. In Provence, close to Nice, the grape is used for the AOC white wines of Bellet.

In California, Vermentino is grown and produced in the Adelaida District AVA by Tablas Creek Vineyard, in the Santa Ynez Valley AVA by Brick Barn Wine Estate, in the Carneros AVA by Mahoney Vineyards, in the Mokelumne River/Lodi AVA by m2 Wines and in the Squaw Valley/Miramonte AVA. In Southern Oregon, it is being grown in the Applegate Valley AVA by Troon Vineyard.

The leaves are dark green, medium or medium-large, spherical or pentagonal, five-lobed or more often seven-lobed. The grapes are amber-yellow and hang in pyramidal bunches. Its skin is medium thickness, greenish-yellow with golden or amber hues in good sunlight and characteristic rust-colored spots. The vines are often grown on slopes facing the sea where they can benefit from the additional reflected light.

It is a vigorous variety, but quite sensitive to the wind. It thrives in hot regions, on dry and infertile ground. It ensures regular production. It’s susceptible to powdery mildew, and to a lesser extent gray rot after veraison; consequently, it requires short pruning.

Vermentino will offer up lively aromas of pear, white peach, lime and pink grapefruit with subtle notes of crushed rocks and citrus zest. On the palate, Vermentino is almost always dry and somewhat oily with flavors of grapefruit and citrus, with a crushed rocky minerality and saltiness. On the finish, it can be a bit snappy with bitterness similar to the taste of grapefruit pith or, if it’s on the riper side, fresh almond.

Production area en 2018: 5 400 ha (13 345 acres)